• April 2, 2019

Top CMOs Generate Higher Returns, Accenture Study Finds

A small number of innovative chief marketing officers (CMOs) are helping their companies generate shareholder returns that are 11 percent higher than their industry peers by delivering hyper-relevant customer experiences, according to a report from Accenture.

Based on a survey of nearly 1,000 CMOs and more than 500 CEOs, the report, titled "Way Beyond Marketing – The Rise of The Hyper-Relevant CMO," noted that these marketing leaders, who fall within the top 17 percent, are driving transformational change at the highest levels of their companies. That, in turn, enables them to respond quickly to changing customer needs by rewiring their organizations to enable better integration and collaboration and deliver superior customer experiences.

"These marketing leaders are finding creative ways to reinvent the customer experience, which is setting them apart from competitors," said John Zealley, head of Accenture's Customer Insight and Growth practice. "They are challenging the status quo of traditional organizational structures, taking the reins of innovation and disruptive growth and unlocking value through new C-suite collaborations. Their actions are enabling organizations to become what we call living businesses, able to constantly anticipate and respond to changing customer needs at speed and deliver significant business value."

To turn their companies into living businesses, the report suggests the following five actions:

  1. Target core and disruptive growth initiatives;
  2. Design products and services as hyper-relevant platforms;
  3. Build a range of engagement channels through agile technologies and prototyping;
  4. Scale a broad set of ecosystem partners; and
  5. Rewire the workforce through new technology and a culture of hyper-relevance.

Other findings from the research include the following:

  • Nearly one-third (31 percent) of the CEOs surveyed expect CMOs to drive growth using customer data and insights to create new products, services, and experiences.
  • Innovative CMOs actively partner with others in the C-suite to create customer-obsessed organizational cultures. Far more likely than their industry peers to spend most of their time driving disruptive growth, these CMOs also describe themselves as innovators, using emerging technologies to predict customer behavior and identify untapped revenue streams.
  • Three-quarters (76 percent) of CMOs believe that consumers have higher expectations today of brands' purposes. CEOs agree, with 70 percent saying that companies that stand for bigger purposes achieve higher levels of commercial success.
  • Ninety percent of CEOs and CMOs agree that marketing's function will change fundamentally within the next three years. Leading CMOs are ahead of the curve, thinking differently about the roles and skills their teams will need to be successful in the future, with immersive experience designers, storytellers, growth hackers, and futurologists topping their lists.

"While the digital revolution has more than delivered in bringing companies closer to their customers, many large incumbents have struggled to capitalize on the growth opportunity. To truly become a living business, where companies are able to anticipate and respond to fast-changing consumer needs, they need to design experiences steeped with empathy for customers and enable cross-functional agility with a focus on helping customers achieve their goals," said Glen Hartman, head of Accenture Interactive, North America.

"CMOs need to lead an effective, joined-up customer experience at all touch points, at pace and at scale, to drive growth," said Mhairi McEwan, managing director and marketing practice lead for Customer Insight and Growth at Accenture.

Based further on the research, McEwan identified four key actions CMOs must take. They are the following:

  1. Using advanced customer insight and analytics to shape the future;
  2. Building the marketing and sales capabilities of their people and organizations;
  3. Leveraging partnerships to create innovative new products, services, and solutions; and
  4. Delivering cost-effective technological activation of personalized and scalable marketing programs.

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